Category Archives: Fraud Protection

CNBC/Survey Monkey Poll Reveals Small Business Vulnerability to Cyberattack

Protection concept. Protect mechanism, system privacy.

“Hackers have breached half of the 28 million  small businesses in the United States, according to the 2016 State of SMB Cybersecurity Report,” says a recently-released CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey article about cyber security.

Through a survey of 2,000 small business owners across the nation conducted in April, the CNBC/Survey Monkey team found that only two percent of small business owners surveyed saw cyber security as “the most critical issue they face.”

Many business owners are more concerned about personnel, competition or benefits issues, but the resulting lack of focus on cyber security, combined with an attitude of ‘we’re too small to be targeted,’ may make these businesses more vulnerable to cyberattack, the article stated.

The article also cited Hemu Nigam, founder of SSP Blue, an internet security consulting business, and the former vice president of internet enforcement at the Motion Picture Association of America, who said, “Hackers love small businesses [because] they don’t have the resources to put in high-end cybersecurity protection and they may not be consciously aware they are a target.”

The cost of not having a high-end cybersecurity protection system can be high as well. For a retailer, a credit card data breach can range from “$200 per transaction to $395 per transaction” to respond adequately to the breach, according to the report.

Cyberattacks against businesses can come in many forms (we suggest reading through our blog archives to learn more about these types of attacks and defensive steps to take). The CNBC/SurveyMonkey article’s authors recommend the following precautionary measures:

  • Use large service providers like WordPress and Gmail for your company’s website and email since they already have complex protection systems built in.
  • Refrain from checking personal accounts from a company computer.
  • Use a cloud-based service rather than keeping your information local.

For more cybersecurity tips, please check out our blog post “Nine Tips for Better Cybersecurity” and “Cybersecurity Best Practices” on our website.

More information about the CNBC/Survey Monkey Small Business Survey can be found at the CNBC web page on the tech/cybersecurity page.

(Promoting cybersecurity best practices, Regents Bank recommends against clicking links provided by second-hand parties and chooses instead to provide written directions about how to find material we reference on our blog.)


↗ Linking to Non-Biltmore Bank Websites

This icon appears next to every link that directs to a third party website not affiliated with Biltmore Bank. Please be advised that if you click this link you will be taken to a website hosted by another party, where you will no longer be subject to, or under the protection of, the privacy and security policies of Biltmore Bank. We recommend that you review and evaluate the privacy and security policies of the site that you are entering. Biltmore Bank assumes no liability for the content, information, security, policies or transactions provided by these other sites.


Building a Digital Defense Against Tech Support Fraud


On July 18, 2017, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Portland released the following news, warning people against tech support fraud. In our continuing efforts to educate our clients about cyber security best practices, we wanted to share the FBI’s warning and advice, in its entirety, here on our blog site. Information about fraud and security best practices can be found on the Biltmore Bank of Arizona website.

In 2016, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received almost 11,000 reports of tech support fraud incidents. In those cases, victims reported losses of more than $7.8 million.

So what is tech support fraud? Imagine you receive a call from someone who says he is with a computer software or security company. Maybe he says he is with a cable or Internet provider. The caller tells you that your software is out of date, and you are vulnerable to a cyber attack. Or, he says your equipment is malfunctioning, and he can fix it remotely — saving you a service call. All you have to do is to provide the caller with remote access to your computer or device. No idea what he’s talking about? No worries — he will be happy to walk you through all the technical details.

In another variation of the fraud, the bad guy convinces you that you overpaid for a recent service. He would be happy to refund the overage if you would just give him a few details — such as your bank account number — so he can arrange the refund.

In reality, he is either just trying to get into your account to clean it out — or, he is working for long-term access to launch other frauds. In this second example, he transfers money back and forth between your own checking, savings and retirement accounts to make it appear as though there is a refund when in fact there is none. Eventually, he tells you that he refunded too much and asks you to wire money back to the fraudulent company. Victims often don’t figure this out for quite a while as the losses pile up.

So how do you protect yourself?

  • Never give a stranger remote access to your computer or other electronics.
  • If something seems a bit odd, it probably is. Hang up and look up a phone number for that company or provider using a publicly-available resource.
  • Don’t give an unsolicited caller your bank account number or other personal information that he could use to access your accounts.
  • Don’t let someone pressure you into buying a computer security product or subscription. Oftentimes, there are reputable, free products that will do that work for you. Seek out help from someone you trust to ensure that if you do pay for something — it is worth the cost.

If you have been victimized by this scam or any other online scam, report your suspicious contacts to the FBI. You can file an online report at the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center or call your FBI local office.

This article can be found on the FBI’s Portland field office website.




We’re Working with You to Battle Cyber Crime


Since 2013, cyber criminals have attacked over 22,000 businesses via business email scams with losses totaling over $3.1 billion. Businesses of any size are vulnerable. Experts estimate that 80% of cyber attacks are avoidable through basic cyber hygiene.  By implementing a variety of safety and prevention measures, you can significantly reduce the chances of your business suffering losses due to cyber crime.

To help businesses understand the risks and the ways they can help protect themselves from this growing threat, we recently sponsored a cyber security seminar at Arizona Small Business Association’s Friday, Sept. 30 meeting. We want to share a few of the key takeaways from our panel of experts in law enforcement, information security and insurance. Here’s what we learned from Howard Miller, CRM, CIC, of L/B/W Insurance and Financial Services, and Chuck Matthews and Robert Meshinsky of WGM Associates.

  • Employee training throughout your organization is critical. Make sure you have clear policies about cyber security and that they are clearly communicated to your staff, contractors and anyone else who has the ability to expose your company to risk. Educate all of your employees about the risks of clicking on links in emails and sharing business information via phone or email with people they don’t know or trust.
  • Limit access to software to employees who really need it and make sure that each employee has their own log-in (don’t have employees share log-ins) so you can track activity back to a specific person.
  • Keep software updated regularly. Cyber thieves exploit vulnerabilities in older versions of software.
  • Use two-factor authentication to access your internet email and other sensitive applications such as online banking. Two-factor authentication requires you to use a one-time password in addition to your regular password, making it more difficult for hackers to hack.
  • Make sure your back-up files are capturing all of your critical data and that your employees are following your prescribed protocol for backing up their files. Also make sure you are backing up your files in a different physical location so you can use them in the event of a natural disaster.
  • Look at your third party vendor contracts to understand what cyber risk you might assume through your relationship with that vendor, particularly with cloud providers who typically accept little, if any, liability associated with cyber crime.
  • Take information security as seriously as operations and finance.
  • Create a VPN (virtual private network) to secure communications to your business network that are initiated by authorized employees using devices outside of your network.
  • Secure your wi-fi with a password and encryption.
  • Use different passwords for different sites and make them long and complex.
  • Check any existing cyber security insurance you may have to look for gaps or exclusions in the coverage. Business interruption is typically limited to physical causes so most insurance won’t cover business interruption due to a cyber attack.
  • Before your business is targeted by cyber criminals, establish a relationship with your local FBI office. They’re the lead federal agency for investigating these kinds of attacks.

For banking (online as well as offline), the following recommendations were made:

  • Use dual control for all ACH and wire transfers. Dual control means that another person or account has to authorize a transfer in addition to the person who initiates it.
  • Never trust wire instructions or other funds transfer instructions sent via email. Always call the person or company to verify the instructions.
  • Set up alerts that automatically notify you about log-ins, password changes, transfers, etc. This way if an unauthorized change is made, you know and can respond quickly.
  • Use Trusteer Rapport software (available free) to provide a secure web channel between your computer and the bank’s online banking site.
  • Use our ACH Fraud Protection Service, which enables business clients to review ACH transactions before they are complete and to choose to pay or return each item.
  • Use ACH blocks or restrictions, if you know you won’t be using these electronic payments, or if you want to limit ACH withdrawals to only specific vendors.

To address the risks of funds transfer fraud and cyber deception, our bank has also introduced a new way for our business banking clients to protect themselves through a first-of-its-kind cyber insurance group policy. The policy provides gap insurance, since most cyber crime insurance policies don’t cover losses for money sent out of a business banking account “voluntarily;” that is, when someone in your firm is tricked into sending funds to a cyber criminal posing as a trusted colleague or vendor. For more information on this policy, please visit

Insurance Products are:
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Insurance Products are offered through Grandpoint Insurance Services, Inc., a non-bank insurance agency affiliate of Grandpoint Bank, and facilitated through LBW Insurance & Financial Services, Inc., an unaffiliated insurance agency.



Help Protect Your Business: Important Cyber Security Seminar


Since 2013, cyber criminals have attacked over 17,000 businesses via business email scams, with losses totaling over $2.3 billion. An estimated 80 percent of businesses are not adequately prepared for a cyber crime attack. Are you?

The Biltmore Bank of Arizona is proud to sponsor a panel discussion addressing this growing threat at Arizona Small Business Association’s Friday, Sept. 30 meeting from 7:00 to 9:30 a.m. at the Arizona Biltmore, located at 2400 E. Missouri Avenue.

We invite you to attend as our guest to learn about emerging cyber crime risks and ways you can help protect your business. You will hear from our panel of experts from the FBI, information security and insurance industries. FBI representatives will include retired agents who served on the 9/11 task force, served as the FBI’s national spokesperson on cyber crime and agents who taught computer forensics at the FBI Academy in Quantico.

At the event, entitled Arizona Speaks: Business & Technology, additional speakers will also be on hand to discuss utilizing equity crowdfunding to raise capital.

Register here by Sept. 23.



What should you do if you fall victim to a BEC scam? 

bec-scam-graphicBy Michael S. Kim, Randall Arthur AND Kelly Spatola

Re-printed with permission by the Association for Financial Professionals,


  • Time is of the essence. The faster you notify law enforcement and your bank, the better chance you have of recovering stolen funds.
  • Go local. Don’t forget to pursue fraudsters in the country where they and your stolen funds are located.
  • You’ll need a local lawyer to help you navigate local courts.

At our firm, we see an increasing amount of business email compromise (BEC) scams. Treasury and finance professionals see this as well—but what can they do after their organization has fallen victim?

How do I know if my company has fallen victim? Two of the most common types of frauds are CEO fraud and invoice fraud. The former is well known by now; variations include CFO fraud and treasurer fraud. The latter, invoice fraud, occurs when the IT system of a customer or supplier of your organization is hacked. The fraudsters will identify invoices due and payable by the company to the customer, then alter the payment details on the invoices and resend them to the company with a request to redirect payment to a new bank account, which is under the control of the fraudster. It is not uncommon for the fraudster to have been hacking into the relevant IT system for a number of months prior to committing the fraud in order to monitor e-mail traffic and thus be able to convincingly impersonate the executive or customer. All this is well known, and many organizations are taking steps to prevent BEC scams. But what happens when it occurs?

Where do stolen funds usually end up, and can a victim possibly recover such funds? Funds misappropriated through BEC scams can ultimately end up in any jurisdiction in the world (but almost never in the country in which the defrauded company is located). In our experience, misappropriated funds often end up in jurisdictions such as Hong Kong, China, Cyprus, various Eastern European countries and various African countries. Misappropriated funds can be transferred in and out of bank accounts in an instant. Thus, the longer it takes to discover a fraud, the less chance a company has of recovering its stolen funds. BEC scams generally are uncovered soon after they are committed; large and unusual transactions are red flags which can be noticed by senior management not targeted by the fraudsters. Invoice fraud often takes much longer to be discovered—usually when an unpaid supplier or customer raises queries as to payment of its invoices, which could be weeks or even months after the fraud has been committed. If your company has been defrauded, the key to recovering misappropriated funds is to take immediate action, both in your company’s local jurisdiction, as well as the jurisdiction to which the funds have been remitted. Any delays can severely jeopardize the chances of recovery.

What should a company do after discovering that it has been defrauded? Once a company discovers that it was the victim of fraudulent activity, it should take the following steps:

Immediately report the fraud to the bank from which funds were fraudulently transferred. Wire transfers are not always instantaneous. Rather, for a variety of reasons, the bank may delay processing a wire transfer—particularly a transfer of large sums of money. Such delays may give both the victim and the victim’s bank the opportunity to cancel or unwind a fraudulent transfer, if they act quickly enough. In our experience, companies that quickly discover and report fraudulent activity to their banks are more likely to recover stolen funds.

Report the fraudulent conduct to law enforcement agencies in the jurisdiction to which the funds were transferred. If possible, defrauded companies should contact these agencies at the same time as they contact their bank, because local police, including police in Hong Kong and China, may be able to freeze the account receiving the stolen funds, thereby stopping the funds from being withdrawn or further transferred.

Inform your company’s in-house counsel of the loss. In-house counsel will need to determine, among other things, whether the loss suffered is covered by the company’s existing insurance policies. If the loss is covered, your company should promptly inform its insurance company of the loss to ensure timely compensation under its policies.

Finally, retain local counsel in the jurisdiction to which the funds were transferred. Local counsel will be able to advise on the best legal strategy to recover the stolen funds—for example, commencing a civil proceeding to obtain a freezing order or a disclosure order. Local lawyers can also facilitate communications with local law enforcement agencies, as discussed in more detail below, thus increasing the chances of funds being frozen before they are further dissipated.

What is the best way to report to and follow up with local authorities? Communicating with law enforcement agencies in a different time zone and in a different language can be challenging and inefficient. Victims of fraud also often make the mistake of reporting crimes through an authority’s online reporting system, which can cause delays in processing the report (and thus increase the risk of the funds leaving the account before steps can be taken to freeze the account). We have found that taking the following steps will maximize a company’s chances of early and effective police intervention:

Contact law enforcement agencies through an agent that lives in the jurisdiction and speaks the native language—preferably local lawyers who are accustomed to dealing with the police and can quickly take steps to begin recovery of the stolen funds should they have been successfully frozen.

If possible, communicate with law enforcement officials face-to-face, as this will help in expediting their investigations.

Provide law enforcement officials with detailed information about the fraud and related wire transfers, including any and all evidence in support. For example, any email correspondence with the fraudsters and wire confirmations showing the name and bank accounts of the recipients.

How does a company obtain a freezing order from local courts? It is often the case that the victim of the fraud cannot (or does not want to) rely on local enforcement to freeze the recipient’s bank account. This may be due to the police not having sufficient powers in the relevant jurisdiction to freeze the account, or the amount that has been stolen is of a sufficient value that the victim wants take additional action to try and secure the funds. In this case, the victim should apply to the local court for a freezing order. Freezing orders—known as a Mareva injunction in Hong Kong or a property preservation order in China—prohibits the recipient of stolen funds from disposing of its assets, including withdrawing the stolen funds from the account. The bank will also freeze the account upon being served with such an order, making it impossible for the account holder to access the funds in the account. In most BEC and invoice fraud cases, the victim can apply for a freezing order on an urgent and ex parte basis—i.e., the victim is not required to notify the account holder about the application unless and until a freezing order is issued by the court. Although this significantly speeds up the process, note that it can take up to a day or two to compile all of the evidence needed and prepare the application, during which time funds can be transferred or withdrawn. It is thus important to retain local counsel early to aid in these efforts, so as not to further delay the process. Given their draconian nature, there are often potential obstacles and pitfalls to be to be aware of when preparing an application for a freezing order. While the standard for granting such an order is high in most jurisdictions, if the victim can produce concrete evidence of the fraud, most courts will be inclined to issue a freezing order, at least at the ex parte stage. Also, some courts require that the victim provide a sum of money to the court—i.e., a bond—to obtain a freezing injunction. Companies should discuss with counsel whether and under what circumstances a freezing order might be possible and what requirements will need to be met to make such an application.

How does a company obtain information about the whereabouts of the stolen funds? It is not uncommon for fraudsters to quickly and repeatedly transfer stolen funds to different banks in an attempt to evade detection. The most efficient way of tracing the funds is through the recipient banks themselves. Often, however, banks and the police are unwilling or unable to provide information about bank accounts without a court order. Therefore, consideration should be given to applying to the local court for a “disclosure order.” This is an order requiring the bank to provide information about the account holder and whether and where funds were subsequently transferred. This can either be done as part of the freezing order application or as a stand-alone application (if, say, for example, the victim has become aware that the funds are no longer in the account but still wants to trace the onward remittance of the funds). It should be noted that courts will often give banks a generous amount of time to comply with disclosure orders, typically seven to 14 days. Such delays may hinder tracing efforts, as it is very likely that fraudsters will continue to move the funds through different banks meaning it can often be difficult to locate the ultimate destinations of the funds. Again, it is important for a victim to move quickly when making a disclosure application in order to give itself the best chance of successfully tracing and freezing stolen funds.

What should a company do after the funds are successfully frozen? Once the stolen funds (or some portion thereof), are successfully frozen, a victim should commence civil proceedings against the recipient for the return of those funds. If the recipient does not appear or otherwise defend the proceedings and commits an act of default, then a judgment can be entered against the recipient. A victim can then seek to enforce the judgment by applying for a third-party payment order (also known as a garnishee order) against the banks where the funds are held. Such an order requires the bank to remit the funds in the account to the victim in satisfaction of the judgment.

Michael S. Kim is co-founder and Randall Arthur and Kelly Spatola are attorneys with Kobre & Kim.


screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am Linking to Non-Biltmore Bank Websites

This icon appears next to every link that directs to a third party website not affiliated with Biltmore Bank. Please be advised that if you click this link you will be taken to a website hosted by another party, where you will no longer be subject to, or under the protection of, the privacy and security policies of Biltmore Bank. We recommend that you review and evaluate the privacy and security policies of the site that you are entering. Biltmore Bank assumes no liability for the content, information, security, policies or transactions provided by these other sites.


Inside Tucson Business Article – Cyber Insurance: A Necessity in the Digital Age

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Linda Drake

Thank you to article author Linda Drake of Trailblazer Advisors and to Inside Tucson Business for allowing us to republish this article on our blog. Client Cyber Crime Insurance is available to all business customers of Grandpoint Bank and its divisions, The Biltmore Bank of Arizona, Bank of Tucson and Regents Bank.

Read the original article here:↗

Whether you are a business large or small, old or new, the dangers of a cyber breach are lurking. The truth is that all businesses today are digital in one form or another. It is the age of the Internet of Everything! Cloud computing is the basis of almost all transactions and with every touch of the keyboard or data entry, there is an attached risk of a breach. And with that breach, comes the liability that might not just be disruptive to your business; it could be devastating.

The costs of a breach can be enormous. (Imagine losing a major bank transfer or assuming a loss of $10,000 for each cyber-security infraction.) By the way, your attacker can come from the outside or inside, as 70 percent of breaches are initiated by employees or former employees.

So what this thing called cyber insurance? Cyber insurance arose out of the traditional Errors and Omissions (E&O) coverage known to most businesses. Over time coverage was extended to viruses, data corruption to connected client systems, or damage affecting customers. Generally, early adopters were technology-based companies.

More than a decade ago, network security policies expanded to include breaches of confidential information. At that point, the retail segment adopted cyber insurance on a wide scale.

Coverage for any business could be simple or complex. The determining factor is an employer’s decision on degree of acceptable risk. Let’s take the simple first.

The Bank of Tucson, through Grandpoint Insurance Services, now offers cyber insurance coverage for its customers at a nominal cost. The coverage for business accounts protects against losses for funds transfer fraud (when someone impersonates your company for a funds transfer) and cyber deception (when a criminal pretends to be your vendor employee or client and gets you to transfer money to them). Mike Hannley, president of Bank of Tucson, announced the new product in the last month. Mike commented, “Internet criminals do not use guns for illicit gain, but they gladly use your computer and network for paydays!”

Let’s take a look at broader, more complex cyber insurance. That kind of cyber insurance may have several parts:

Network Security: Your network has failed in some form. It could be that someone is trying to shut down your network to in an effort to stop you from conducting business. Or, you’ve just experienced a data breach, some form of extortion, or tapped your system to advance a virus to all of your connected transmissions.

Privacy: Privacy is huge and does not necessarily have to be connected to a system failure. There are many known cases of information of physical records that are not properly disposed of, including human errors (think of a lost laptop with an easily penetrated passcode) or a hard drive with customer records that somehow got into the wrong hands.

Media Liability:  This aspect covers advertising injury claims like copyright, libel and slander. Coverage may extend to offline content as well.

Digging deeper, network security and privacy liability policies covers first and third party liabilities. First party means the direct costs of responding to a breach; third party means it applies when people sue or make claims against you.

First party inclusions: 

Costs of notifying anyone attached to the breach

Loss of profits and business interruption

Legal advice and regulatory obligations

Public relations expenses

Third party inclusions:

Regulatory fines and penalties

Damage and judgments related to the breach

Legal expenses

Costs of responding to regulatory inquiries

According to Jack Clements, CPA at the Clements Agency, “Every company, large or small, should at least consider cyber Insurance. There are so many examples of exposure to loss that it is difficult to list them all; some exposures are unique to certain types of businesses.”

“And don’t forget about controls; they are critical,” Jack continued. “In broad policies, premiums are based upon the quality of your controls. Many companies believe that their controls are so strong, that it can never happen to them. Believe me, it can and it will.”

Another aspect of this discussion is commonly known as “Social Engineering” or “Duping.” This is a scheme where a seemingly legitimate email is sent to you asking for money or confidential information. It happens all the time. Jack added, “In fact, an attempt was made on our office this week. We received a business email from my brother, with whom we do business, asking for a wire transfer. When we called him, we learned that it was completely fraudulent. Had we complied, the transaction would not have been covered by our Cyber Policy, since we willingly sent the money. We would, however, have been covered by the Social Engineering endorsement that we have on our package policy. Just another area to think about.”

Linda Drake is a 25-year, seasoned global entrepreneur, corporate executive, author and Certified Professional & Executive Coach. 

For more information on the Client Cyber Crime Insurance, visit (California Insurance License #0K82434).

Insurance Products are:
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Insurance Products are offered through Grandpoint Insurance Services, Inc., a non-bank insurance agency affiliate of Grandpoint Bank, and facilitated through LBW Insurance & Financial Services, Inc., an unaffiliated insurance agency.


↗ Linking to Non-Biltmore Bank Websites

This icon appears next to every link that directs to a third party website not affiliated with Biltmore Bank. Please be advised that if you click this link you will be taken to a website hosted by another party, where you will no longer be subject to, or under the protection of, the privacy and security policies of Biltmore Bank. We recommend that you review and evaluate the privacy and security policies of the site that you are entering. Biltmore Bank assumes no liability for the content, information, security, policies or transactions provided by these other sites.


FBI Article: Ransomware


We receive a lot of positive feedback when we run articles from the FBI’s cyber crime division. We’re pleased the Bureau has encouraged us to share their articles on this topic, so we want to share a recent post from their website about ransomware. Ransomware refers to a malware that restricts access to the infected computer/network and demands that the operators pay some sort of ransom to regain control of their network. We hope this article is helpful to you. Please let us know if you have information or ideas on this topic that our readers may want to hear.

You can find this article, as well as many other articles you may find valuable to keep your business and staff secure against cybercrime, at this web address:↗

For more information about fraud protection tools and product features provided by The Biltmore Bank of Arizona, please visit our website.


Hospitals, school districts, state and local governments, law enforcement agencies, small businesses, large businesses—these are just some of the entities impacted by ransomware, an insidious type of malware that encrypts, or locks, valuable digital files and demands a ransom to release them.

The inability to access the important data these kinds of organizations keep can be catastrophic in terms of the loss of sensitive or proprietary information, the disruption to regular operations, financial losses incurred to restore systems and files, and the potential harm to an organization’s reputation. Home computers are just as susceptible to ransomware and the loss of access to personal and often irreplaceable items— including family photos, videos, and other data—can be devastating for individuals as well.

In a ransomware attack, victims—upon seeing an e-mail addressed to them—will open it and may click on an attachment that appears legitimate, like an invoice or an electronic fax, but which actually contains the malicious ransomware code. Or the e-mail might contain a legitimate-looking URL, but when a victim clicks on it, they are directed to a website that infects their computer with malicious software.

One the infection is present, the malware begins encrypting files and folders on local drives, any attached drives, backup drives, and potentially other computers on the same network that the victim computer is attached to. Users and organizations are generally not aware they have been infected until they can no longer access their data or until they begin to see computer messages advising them of the attack and demands for a ransom payment in exchange for a decryption key. These messages include instructions on how to pay the ransom, usually with bitcoins because of the anonymity this virtual currency provides.

Ransomware attacks are not only proliferating, they’re becoming more sophisticated. Several years ago, ransomware was normally delivered through spam e-mails, but because e-mail systems got better at filtering out spam, cyber criminals turned to spear phishing e-mails targeting specific individuals. And in newer instances of ransomware, some cyber criminals aren’t using e-mails at all—they can bypass the need for an individual to click on a link by seeding legitimate websites with malicious code, taking advantage of unpatched software on end-user computers.

The FBI doesn’t support paying a ransom in response to a ransomware attack. Paying a ransom doesn’t guarantee an organization that it will get its data back—there have been cases where organizations never got a decryption key after having paid the ransom. Paying a ransom not only emboldens current cyber criminals to target more organizations, it also offers an incentive for other criminals to get involved in this type of illegal activity. And by paying a ransom, an organization might inadvertently be funding other illicit activity associated with criminals.

So what does the FBI recommend? As ransomware techniques and malware continue to evolve—and because it’s difficult to detect a ransomware compromise before it’s too late—organizations in particular should focus on two main areas:

  • Prevention efforts—both in both in terms of awareness training for employees and robust technical prevention controls; and
  • The creation of a solid business continuity plan in the event of a ransomware attack.

Tips for Dealing with Ransomware. While the below tips are primarily aimed at organizations and their employees, some are also applicable to individual users.

  • Make sure employees are aware of ransomware and of their critical roles in protecting the organization’s data.
  • Patch operating system, software, and firmware on digital devices (which may be made easier through a centralized patch management system).
  • Ensure antivirus and anti-malware solutions are set to automatically update and conduct regular scans.
  • Manage the use of privileged accounts—no users should be assigned administrative access unless absolutely needed, and only use administrator accounts when necessary.
  • Configure access controls, including file, directory, and network share permissions appropriately. If users only need read specific information, they don’t need write-access to those files or directories.
  • Disable macro scripts from office files transmitted over e-mail.
  • Implement software restriction policies or other controls to prevent programs from executing from common ransomware locations (e.g., temporary folders supporting popular Internet browsers, compression/decompression programs).
  • Back up data regularly and verify the integrity of those backups regularly.
  • Secure your backups. Make sure they aren’t connected to the computers and networks they are backing up.


↗ Linking to Non-Biltmore Bank Websites

This icon appears next to every link that directs to a third party website not affiliated with Biltmore Bank. Please be advised that if you click this link you will be taken to a website hosted by another party, where you will no longer be subject to, or under the protection of, the privacy and security policies of Biltmore Bank. We recommend that you review and evaluate the privacy and security policies of the site that you are entering. Biltmore Bank assumes no liability for the content, information, security, policies or transactions provided by these other sites.


Biltmore Bank Makes First-of-its-Kind Cyber Crime Insurance Available!



Biltmore Bank has introduced a new way for its business banking clients to protect themselves from financial losses due to funds transfer fraud and cyber deception through a first-of-its-kind cyber insurance group policy.

Grandpoint Bank has created Grandpoint Insurance Services, Inc., a non-bank insurance agency affiliate, to develop the Client Cyber Crime Insurance product. The policy, offered to customers of Grandpoint Bank and its divisions, including Biltmore Bank, offers cyber crime loss coverage that is specifically geared to monetary losses. It was created as an affordable and easy alternative to individually underwritten, higher-priced commercial crime insurance policies.

The majority of businesses don’t realize that they have significantly more exposure for losses due to fraud than individual account holders, who are afforded certain regulatory protections. Businesses are often tricked into approving fraudulent transfers, notwithstanding internal controls to identify and prevent this kind of risk.  According to the FBI, since 2013, over 17,000 businesses have lost an aggregate of more than $2.3 billion to one type of cyber crime alone, known as the business email scam.

Even as monetary losses due to cyber crime have skyrocketed in recent years, many traditional commercial crime policies specifically exclude losses arising from cyber deception.

“We are excited to make this new coverage available to our business clients,” said Petra Griffith, Director of Product Development for Grandpoint Bank. “The policy focuses on the kinds of coverage that directly address the key fraud risks that businesses face – losses to their bank accounts through cyber crime.  Cyber crime is a major concern for businesses, especially since they are typically liable if cyber criminals steal funds from their business accounts. They often don’t have the appropriate insurance in place and are finding it more difficult to protect themselves in this ever evolving, increasingly sophisticated cyber crime environment.”

The Client Cyber Crime Insurance policy is available exclusively to business clients of Grandpoint Bank and its divisions, Biltmore Bank of Arizona, Bank of Tucson, and Regents Bank, through Grandpoint Insurance Services, in partnership with LBW Insurance & Financial Services, Inc.  The policy is underwritten by Hiscox Inc., on behalf of Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London, which is rated A by A.M. Best. Insurance products are not a deposit, not FDIC insured, not federal government agency insured, not bank guaranteed.

The Client Cyber Crime Insurance group policy coverage helps reimburse funds in business deposit accounts lost due to funds transfer fraud and cyber deception and is offered at premiums that represent substantial savings from individual policies currently available on the market. Any business that has a deposit account at Grandpoint Bank or its divisions is automatically eligible to enroll in the policy and select from a range of coverages with premiums that start at $30 per month.

“Educating and alerting our clients, and the broader business community, about established and emerging cyber crime trends is a commitment we’re passionate about,” said Rich Endicott, President of the Biltmore Bank of Arizona. “We’ve been working for over a year to create a more powerful solution to help clients protect their financial assets against attacks by cyber criminals.”

For more information on the Client Cyber Crime Insurance, visit


Insurance Products are:
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Insurance Products are offered through Grandpoint Insurance Services, Inc., a non-bank insurance agency affiliate of Grandpoint Bank, and facilitated through LBW Insurance & Financial Services, Inc., an unaffiliated insurance agency.



Cyber security alert … There are only two kinds, which one are you?


Thank you to article author Linda Drake of Trailblazer Advisors and to Inside Tucson Business for allowing us to republish this article on our blog.

A common meme in the imploding industry of information security is the assertion that there are only two kinds of companies:

Those that have been hacked and those who don’t know they’ve been hacked!

Which one are you?

There are some stunning statistics* that every small and medium-sized business should know that require your attention and action for your protection.

No business or organization can prevent data breaches. A single credit card data breach can cost your business $217 per incident

According to experts, the cost of a company-wide data breach costs a minimum of $10,000

92 percent of companies experiencing a breach did not know it (they were notified by a 3rd party)

75 percent of breaches occur in businesses with less than 100 employees.

Only 25 percent of breaches are IT or hacker-related; this means 75 percent of breach events are related to current/former employees, customers, vendors, contractors and organized crime or social engineering.

Yet, 83 percent of SMB’s do not have a formal cybersecurity plan.

Most importantly, 64 percent of companies with 500 or fewer employees go out of business within a year of being hacked!

If the last statement does not compel you to take action, close your business down now!

The age of the ‘Internet of Everything’ is upon us. Companies need to harness this technology as an asset or potentially endure irreparable harm.  According to Gartner Research, companies incur four times the expense to respond to data breach events than the installation of appropriate security technology to prevent it.  Of course, the actual expense of a breach does not include the correspondent frustration, aggravation and untold embarrassment.

As a business owner you may be asking yourself, am I really at risk?  “Indeed, you really are!” retorted Kathy Delaney Winger, Esq., an attorney who practices in the area of cybersecurity.   “All companies must protect ‘Personally Identifiable Information,’ commonly termed (PII).” PII can be defined as any information about an individual maintained by an agency, including (1) any information that can be used to distinguish or trace an individual’s identity, such as name, social security number, date and place of birth, mother’s maiden name, or biometric records; and (2) any other information that is linked or linkable to an individual, such as medical, educational, financial, and employment information.”

“The truth is,” stated Kathy, “the definition of information is very broad, as is your obligation to protect it.  For example, even if a business owner hires a third party to perform services that involve the use of PII (such as payroll processors) the business owner may still be at risk if a breach occurs.”

According to Kathy, there are multiple factors that you should consider when thinking about cybersecurity and protecting your business.  “It’s critically important to be aware of the PII that your business is collecting, holding and/or sharing with third parties,” said Kathy.  “Once you’ve made yourself aware of it, you should take steps to protect the information and have a plan as to how you will handle matters (such as complying with your obligation to notify affected parties) in the event of a breach.”  Kathy recommends that business owners work closely with professionals who are knowledgeable in this area, including lawyers and companies that specialize in computer security.  According to Kathy, businesses should also discuss the issue with insurance professionals.  “I recommend that business owners consider purchasing cyber insurance that will protect the company should a breach occur,” said Kathy.  She continued “the statistics cited at the start of this article illustrate that, once a breach occurs, a company’s liability can be extensive.  Thus, business owners are well advised to insure against data breach losses just as they insure against many other kinds of losses.”

According to James Riley, CEO of JNR Networks, the number one technology virus is the user!  Most systems are compromised by users who knowingly or unknowingly create the vulnerability of access to your data.

So what steps should you take to protect your data and your company?

The first, most immediate action is modifying the approach to passwords.  Some IT experts suggest that you should treat passwords like underwear: don’t leave them where people can see them, change them often, do not lend them to others, and make sure they are a good “fit”. Further, the obfuscation of passwords is critical.

“Passwords should not include the obvious,” James suggests.  “Do not use passwords with your kids’ names, spouse, pets or anything that people know about you,” James commented. Passwords should be at least 8 characters that include upper and lower case, numbers and symbols.  The key to a unique and memorable password is the linking and twisting of terms that only have meaning to you.  “Spell words that are jumbled and have no relationship to each other, just to you.”

Beyond the password basics, James added, “All companies need at the very minimum, business grade (BG) antivirus software, BG firewalls, and BG equipment. But, all the best of these tools are nothing without the development of Acceptable Use Policies (AUP) that are established, reinforced and enforced in each company.”

One of our country’s greatest founding fathers had it right—

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

In the 18th century Ben Franklin had no idea that his words would be so applicable in this era coined, “The Third Wave of the Internet,” by AOL’s founder, Steve Case. The SMB bottom-line regarding cybersecurity is a simple message: explore, embrace, manage and, above all, control cyber technology before it controls you.

*Statistics presented by a panel of experts for AZ Tech Council at the recent Tech Junction Conference in Tucson.  Kathy Delaney Winger, Esq. of The Law Offices of Kathy Delaney Winger and James Riley, CEO of JNR Networks were two of the panelists.

Linda Drake is a 25 year, seasoned global entrepreneur, corporate executive, author and Certified Professional & Executive Coach.  As a CEO for CEO’s, Linda founded Trailblazer Advisors to catapult economic growth and leadership skills for business owners and senior management at any stage in the business lifecycle.  She believes that strong business leadership and entrepreneurism are the heart and promise of America. Linda is the President of the International Coaching Federation of Southern Arizona. 

Read the original article here:↗


↗ Linking to Non-Biltmore Bank Websites

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Treasury Management – Manage and Protect Your Funds More Effectively

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Moving money and executing transactions is easier than ever, but what is your business doing to make sure your funds aren’t at risk? From the most elaborate cyber attacks to a simple unauthorized alteration on a check, you could be vulnerable to all kinds of fraud.

Financial institutions have processes and procedures in place to help protect against fraud. But the increasing risk and sophistication of cyber crimes in particular, both at home and in the office, makes it especially important for everyone to be vigilant and cautious. That’s why The Biltmore Bank of Arizona continually invests in tools and resources to help detect potentially fraudulent transactions and accounts with a high potential for fraud. We believe it is equally important for our clients to understand the risks and be aware of the steps you can take to help protect your business assets. We want to share a few of the practices we follow and the products we offer to help you minimize your vulnerability.

With so many ways that passwords can be compromised – from inadvertent sharing with others to malware that mines your personal information — protecting the secure access to your online accounts is crucial. Ever heard of a keylogger? It’s malware that captures and records a user’s keystrokes. It can be used by a cyber-criminal to record your passwords and a variety of other information. As a deterrent to these kinds of compromises, Biltmore Bank business clients use a secure access code to access their accounts through online banking, and the associated password expires every 90 days. This precaution helps protect against a possible breach if your password falls into the wrong hands.

Most people know that Internet connections can be vulnerable to compromise. Various layers of protection are available, including firewalls, anti-virus software and network encryption, but cyber criminals are always working to try to break through these barriers. That’s why these programs are continuously updated and why keeping current with each new release is so critical. To provide a secure web channel between our client’s computer and the bank’s online banking site, so that no other user can get in the middle, we offer Trusteer Rapport software to our business clients. This free, downloadable software helps to prevent malware and phishing attacks and provides sustainable fraud protection.

One of the most frequent targets for cyber thieves are ACH payments – payments created when you give an originating party authorization to debit directly from your checking or saving account for the purpose of bill payment. To commit ACH fraud, all a cyber thief needs is your account number and the bank routing number, which can be taken directly from an unsuspecting victim’s check. Our ACH Fraud Protection Services enable business clients to review these transactions before they are complete and to choose to pay or return each item, to guard against fraudulent automatic withdrawals. If you know you won’t be using these electronic payments, we can set up an ACH block so that no ACH payments are allowed. Or, if you only expect ACH withdrawals from a handful of vendors, you can restrict your ACH authorization to just those few vendors.

As an added layer of protection, your online banking profile can also be IP address-restricted, meaning if a request to transfer funds from your Phoenix-based company is issued by an IP address located in New York, the transaction will be rejected. Our Risk Fraud Analytics system reviews all of your company’s transactions for other anomalies as well. You also have the option to set a maximum dollar limit for transactions you may initiate. If that limit is exceeded, the transaction will automatically be rejected. In addition, you’ll be alerted if someone changes a password, user entitlements, dollar limits and more. Business clients can also set up dual control on their wires and ACH transactions. This can reduce employee fraud, but it also makes it more difficult for cyber criminals to complete a fraudulent transfer since two people within the business must sign off on these transactions.

One of the most prevalent types of fraud today is cyber deception, which is usually the result of human error – falling victim to complex scams in which criminals pose as a trusted colleague, business associate or vendor in order to gain access to your financial assets. It is particularly hard to detect. These schemes are typically executed via email, but cyber criminals have become increasingly adept at spoofing phones as well. What you believe to be a legitimate request could result in you unwittingly paying a crook. For more on this topic, please refer to the cyber security article from the FBI we republished on our blog.

Of course, fraud schemes aren’t always so sophisticated. If someone has altered a check you’ve issued, you might never notice – until it is too late. A simple safeguard against this kind of theft is our Positive Pay Service. You provide the bank with what is essentially a digital check register and we match it against the checks presented for payment. If we see any discrepancies, we notify you so that you can review and decide whether or not the check should be paid. All checks presented for payment are verified, including checks presented in person at our banking offices.

Businesses with a high volume of checks arriving through the mail are at risk of crooks intercepting these payments. We offer a layer of protection through our Lock Box Service, which streamlines the remittance process. Payments are sent to a secure post office box where they are collected by the bank several times a day and deposited directly into your Biltmore Bank account. The post office box and speedy collection system help minimize the opportunities for the check to be intercepted after it’s placed in the mail. The service also provides timely payment receipt reporting and provides you access to electronic and paper remittance images online to update your receivables or research customer questions.

To discuss how you can layer additional treasury management protections onto your business accounts, contact your Biltmore Bank of Arizona relationship manager or call our office.